Nightly Enteral Nutrition Support of Elderly Hip Fracture Patients: A Pilot Study

Dennis H. Sullivan, Dennis H. Sullivan, Melinda M. Bopp, Carl L. Nelson, V. Suzanne Klimberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objectives: Assess whether postoperative nightly enteral nutrition support improves outcomes of elderly patients with an acute hip fracture Design: Randomized controlled trial Setting: A University and a Department of Veteran’s Affairs Hospital Subjects: Adults >64 years of age who underwent surgical repair of an acute hip fracture Interventions: Subjects randomized to the control (Ctrl) group received standard care while the treatment (Tx) group received standard care plus up to 1,375 Kcal [5,755 kJ/d] of nasoenteral tube feedings each night. When tube feedings had to be discontinued, Tx subjects were asked to drink an equivalent amount of the nutritional supplement each night. Measures of Outcome: Rate of postoperative complications and 6-month postoperative survival Results: Fifty-seven patients were randomized to the Tx (n = 27, mean age 75.9 ± 7.4 yrs) or Ctrl groups (age 81.7 ± 7.7 yrs). All subjects had reduced volitional nutrient intakes after surgery. During the first week subsequent to surgery, there was no difference between the treatment and control groups in the amount of nutrients that they volitionally consumed during the day. However, the treatment subjects had a greater total daily nutrient intake (Median 5,866 (IQR 5,024 to 7,335) kJ/d vs. 3,965 (IQR 2,968 to 4,664) kJ/d, p < 0.001). However, by the second postoperative week this difference was no longer statistically significant. Intolerance to the tube feedings developed commonly. There was no difference between the groups in the rate of postoperative life-threatening complications or mortality within six months subsequent to surgery. Conclusions: This study failed to confirm findings from a prior study of improved postoperative survival with nutrition support. However, it was conducted on multiple hospital wards which may have contributed to the higher rate of tube-related problems and less nutrient delivery signifying the need for further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-691
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Elderly
  • Enteral feedings
  • Hip fracture
  • Nutrition support
  • Protein-energy undernutrition
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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